The independent authority for the investigation of allegations and complaints against the police said Thursday that it instructed the four criminal investigators probing complaints of police brutality at last Saturday’s protest to wrap up investigations within three months.
The authority announced that the four lawyers it appointed to do the job are Agathoklis Korellis, Mary Mccluskey, Elias Christou, and Iro Constantinidou.
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency on behalf of the organisers of the anti-corruption and pro-unification protest entitled ‘Enough’, that will be held anew this Saturday, Giorgos Charalambous described efforts being exerted by the police to justify the excessive use of violence as “surreal”.
Police have over the past few days attempted to defend their response to the peaceful protest by claiming that they were only reacting to violence instigated by protesters, while in other cases police said protesters provoked police by throwing rocks and oranges. Protesters categorically deny this.
Charalambous said the only provocation by protesters “was the raised finger of the already-soaking wet Anastasia” - the 25-year-old musician who suffered a serious eye injury that required laser surgery after she was hit by the police force’s recently-procured water cannon.
After last Saturday’s events, protesters are now adding to their list of demands the ending of police brutality and the withdrawal of the water cannon ‘Aiantas’. The several groups and organisations behind the protests are also demanding increased spending on healthcare rather than on funding the police and armament programs, the lifting of bans at crossing points, and the lifting of the decree banning demonstrations, which they claim is a violation of human rights and can no longer be deemed necessary while closed spaces such as malls and department stores are accessible.
Charalambous said the protesters are asking to police to keep their distance and “to stop provoking common sense.”
“On our part, we’re reiterating that we plan on protesting peacefully, as always.” Charalambous called on all who plan to join the protest on Saturday to come wearing their mask and to keep safe distances from others.
Police met on Thursday to discuss their plan to handle Saturday’s protest, with police spokesperson Christos Andreou telling media that police are concerned over information that suggests that some participants of the protest are planning to use violence.
Responding to these statements, Charalambous said that “if the police have any information then they should investigate, instead of leaking it in an attempt to cultivate a climate of panic among the public, especially after the unprovoked and unjustified use of violence last Saturday.”